Biomedical Microdevices

, 20:90 | Cite as

Proliferation arrest, selectivity, and chemosensitivity enhancement of cancer cells treated by a low-intensity alternating electric field

  • Kin Fong LeiEmail author
  • Shao-Chieh Hsieh
  • Andrew Goh
  • Rei-Lin Kuo
  • Ngan-Ming TsangEmail author


Elimination of serious side effects is a desired feature of cancer therapy. Alternating electric field treatment is one approach to the non-invasive treatment of cancer. The efficacy and safety of this novel therapy are confirmed for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. In the current study, we co-cultured cancer cells and normal cells to investigate the selectivity and chemosensitivity enhancement of an electric field treatment. Cancer cells (cell line: HeLa and Huh7) and fibroblasts (cell line: HEL299) were cultured in an in-house–developed cell culture device embedded with stimulating electrodes. A low-intensity alternating electric field was applied to the culture. The field significantly induced proliferation arrest of the cancer cells, while had limited influence on the fibroblasts. Moreover, in combination with the anti-cancer drug, damage to the cancer cells was enhanced by the electric field. Thus, a lower dosage of the drug could be applied to achieve the same treatment effectiveness. This study provides evidence that low-intensity electric field treatment selectively induced proliferation arrest and enhanced the chemosensitivity of the cancer cells. This electro-chemotherapy could be developed and applied as a regional cancer therapy with minimal side effects.


Cancer therapy Cell culture Chemosensitivity Chemotherapy Electric field TTFields Tumor treating fields 



This work was supported by Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan (project numbers of CMRPD2G0172 and BMRPC05).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Biomedical EngineeringChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyChang Gung Memorial HospitalLinkouTaiwan
  3. 3.Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections, College of MedicineChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  4. 4.Graduate Institute of Biomedical SciencesChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory ScienceChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsChang Gung Memorial HospitalLinkouTaiwan
  7. 7.Department of Traditional Chinese MedicineChang Gung UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan

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